When we started from Kodai we didn’t know our ride to Munnar would be so delightful and refreshing that there was no ” You are getting bored” voice inside my head. It was a crowd free drive till Kambam and the roads were in good condition too. Sometimes just a ride like this will give you immense calm and purify your mind from all the troubling thoughts that you’ve been carrying inside you. It’s like the most beautiful dialogue from the movie ‘ The Lord of the Rings’ -” That there is something good in this world Mr. Frodo, and it’s worth fighting (seeing) for”. Well my Samwise Gamgee was sitting next to me and he knows what to do to lift my spirit, more than me. Listening the birds chirping, watching the green forests, we spent sometime on the noise free, vehicle free ghat road, and it really worked like an energy booster.
We drove above 150 Kms, through Kambam -Theni- Devikulam – Munnar Route. Ravenously reached at Theni near break fast time and had our Pongal and coffee. You really should taste the Tamilian style filter coffee. It’s so rich in flavor and keeps you refreshed for a long time. The only thing which I slightly don’t like in it is the tremendous amount of sugar. Either you can order sugar free or don’t stir your coffee if you have the same sugary problem.
But don’t forget to order your coffee if you are anywhere inside Tamil Nadu. Stretching our spine a bit we continued. Forest gave way to buildings and then again our vehicle came across to tall woody areas, cardamom estates and slowly to the vast tea hills.
Husband got down in places to take pics, and we were literally awestruck and wished to take 360 degree shots of these tea estates. Paths were cut between giant rocks. Some of these rocks were wonderfully self designed, and were worth watching for. One thing I forgot to mention, There was this restaurant at Kerala – Tamil Nadu border, which served fresh and hot food. Won’t say its super tasty but yea its okay as you are getting freshly cooked something to eat, right?.
Our stay at Munnar was at a serene place where you could enjoy the soft mist gliding through thick and big trees. Our host was not present when we reached there. The helper boy or assistant welcomed us with a cup of hot coffee and I got immersed in the swing with the ‘ Calligrapher’s daughter’ for sometime. Host came in by twilight and he was so welcoming that Husband and him started bonding so well. Dinner was served at different hut or small home like area and it was delicious. It was not like homely food and you get continental homely. They served typical Malayali christian style food ( yup ! I do like and notice different styles of Malayali cooking).While I was waiting for my Coffee, husband and another guy near us started talking which after sometime got my attention too. He was from Kannur, a cab driver by profession and was accompanying some ladies in their Kerala tour. Citing some incredible trip stories he mentioned he and a guest of his covered many Indian States in some 45 days or so. He also mentioned and invited us for One of the folk art from North Kerala, which I was dying to watch for long. Husband and I decided our next planned trip will be to Kannur, obviously for watching theyyam. That guy went to Ladak with the same guest, a few days back. He did mentioned about Ladak too when we were in chat. Feeling excited about Theyyam and full tummy, I slept soundly.
Next morning we went for walk in the tea estate near by came back had our break fast and drove to Iravikualm national park. unfortunately it was closed as it was the breeding season of Nilgiri Tahr, an endangered mountain goat. Riding up and up we passed through more and more teas estates, factories, small villages etc. Then came to a halt at a waterfall, which almost dry but people were taking shower in it. The way to it was paved with stunning big rocks and I sat on one, dipping my legs in the ice cold water. Spending sometime in there made us realize that, there won’t be much to eat where we are headed. The forest department was running a tea stall there. So we bought some instant cup noodles and filled our thermal flask with some hot water.
Marayoor Jaggery is very famous in here. I wanted to know the making of it (the natural process). Saw a small jaggery making hut and we spend more than an hour watching the process. The makers were friendly and were happily agreed to take pics and cleared all my doubts. The whole process takes 3 hrs, more than an hour goes in boiling the sugar cane juice and reducing it into a gravy like thing. Then the whole boiling liquid is poured into a big rectangular wooden box. They wait till it hardens a bit. After dipping their bear hands in water they start rolling the hot jaggery. While the makers were waiting for the Jaggery to harden. Husband and I went up again till the road ended. Came down saw all the finishing process ,bought some jaggery and drove back to Munnar. Had our cup noodle lunch around 3 pm. Reached back to our place, spent some time talking to our host, the driver guy and some guests. We had to start early next morning to our home, so we headed to our room soon afer our dinner.
Sun was up already by the time we were ready. The helper boy filled our flask with black coffee and we headed home with full of memories of the places we visited, the people we met.